The Deir Yassin Remembered Blog

Report on Beth Israel vigil 06-10-17

Posted on June 12th, 2017 at 10:37 am by

Witness for Peace in the News

Just when you thought that journalism was totally comatose, up pops a reporter of the local on-line and print edition of The Ann Arbor News and places a call to this writer. Her interest was – after reading other accounts of the SPLC smearing us as a “hate” group – to get OUR side of the story. This led to a 45-minute telephone interview and resulting article. News sources like The Michigan Daily, WUOM and WEMU radio, and (of course) The Washtenaw Jewish News rejected our efforts to set the record straight, so it was like a breath of fresh air to see that, in some quarters, a few basic journalistic standards are still respected and the “other side” gets a hearing.

Commentary Revealing

“Ann Arbor group that questions Holocaust says ‘hate group’ label unfair” appeared in the Wednesday on-line edition, and Thursday’s print edition (print editions available only on Thursdays and Sundays) of The Ann Arbor News. Readers can view the on-line edition here, complete with a half-dozen photos, and view text of the article after signature.

There are about 125 comments to the article as of this writing, and we found it interesting that, although the “Keyboard Warriors” initially overwhelmed the dialogue with ad hominem responses, after a while some more thoughtful and lengthy comments appear. An old adage holds that for every ten people who hold a similar opinion, one writes about it.

Worth Repeating: Why Challenging the Holocaust Narrative Matters

Although Witness for Peace has decided (via consensus) that our street protest focus on Israeli crimes, its “right” to exist as a Jewish state, and the corrosive effects of Jewish Power on America, and NOT on the Holocaust, it’s worth reflecting on the reasons for doing so in our vigil report of April 23, 2016.

In addition, the Zionist professor Norman Finkelstein provides us with his own take:

As already noted, Jewish elites in the United States have enjoyed enormous prosperity. From this combination of economic and political power has sprung, unsurprisingly, a mindset of Jewish superiority. Wrapping themselves in the mantle of The Holocaust, these Jewish elites pretend—and, in their own solipsistic universe, perhaps imagine themselves—to be victims, dismissing any and all criticism as manifestations of “anti-Semitism.” And, from this lethal brew of formidable power, chauvinistic arrogance, feigned (or imagined) victimhood, and Holocaust-immunity to criticism has sprung a terrifying recklessness and ruthlessness on the part of American Jewish elites. Alongside Israel, they are the main fomenters of anti-Semitism in the world today.

[Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History]

Readers are invited to read the response of the Executive Director of Deir Yassin Remembered on the SPLC’s smear see:  “Castigated the Southern Poverty Law Center” .

Comments?

Henry Herskovitz
Witness for Peace
Remember the USS Liberty
June 3: Five vigilers
June 10: Four vigilers
#

June 07, 2017 at 3:02 PM, updated June 07, 2017 at 3:03 PM

ANN ARBOR, MI – Does Ann Arbor have a “hate group” that denies what happened during the Holocaust?

Yes, says The Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit based in Alabama dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry. The center says the Ann Arbor group called Deir Yassin Remembered is one of 10 “Holocaust deniers” in the U.S. and has included it on center’s annual hate group list.

A member of Deir Yassin Remembered says labeling the group a hate group is unfair and an effort to silence them.

Henry Herskovitz, a member of the board of advisers for Deir Yassin Remembered, describes his organization as “Holocaust revisionists.” He said questioning widely accepted facts about the Holocaust and voicing concerns about the amount of power wielded by Jewish people is not inherently anti-Semitic.

“If people are labeled hater or anti-Semitic, doesn’t the truth exonerate them?” asks Herskovitz, who said he formerly identified as Jewish. “The truth should be able to defend us against the claim of hate.”

Deir Yassin Remembered says its mission is to educate the public about a 1948 massacre in the Israeli village of Deir Yassin that killed more than 100 Palestinians. The group thinks the historical suffering of Palestinians has been minimized while the historical suffering of Jews has been unduly amplified.

Heidi Beirich, director of SPLC’s Intelligence Project, said Deir Yassin Remembered was added to the center’s lists of hate groups for 2017 due to the group’s support of Holocaust deniers and its questioning of historically accurate facts about the Holocaust – the mass murder of European Jews and other groups by the Nazis before and during World War II.

The main purpose of denying the Holocaust is to “rehabilitate the German Nazis’ image as part of a bid to make the ideology of national socialism more acceptable,” according to the SPLC website.

Deir Yassin Remembered is included on the SPLC’s annual hate group list that identified 917 hate groups across the country this year. Michigan is home to 28 hate groups on the SPLC’s list.

In February, Deir Yassin Remembered paid for a billboard on U.S. 23 near Whitmore Lake that read, “America First Not Israel.” The billboard sparked complaints and was taken down within a week.

Herskovitz considered the phrase on the billboard put up in February to be an extension of President Donald Trump’s “America first” stance mentioned in his inauguration speech.

The phrase “America First” also has ties to World War II, when the America First Committee voiced opposition to U.S. involvement in the war. Some people who spoke publicly on behalf of the America First Committee expressed views that were considered anti-Semitic.

In addition to his involvement in Deir Yassin Remembered, Herskovitz started an anti-Israel group called “Witness for Peace.” For more than 13 years, members of Witness for Peace have protested outside the Beth Israel Congregation, a Jewish synagogue in Ann Arbor, every Saturday. Herskovitz said he used to attend services at Beth Israel.

Beth Israel congregants reflect on 10 years of protests at synagogue

While Witness for Peace and Deir Yassin Remembered are separate entities, Herskovitz said, members of each organization have supported each other’s causes over the years. Witness for Peace is not included in the SPLC’s 2017 list of hate groups.

In the past, the protesters outside Beth Israel have been denounced by the Ann Arbor City Council and other elected officials, the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice and 31 other local religious leaders.

Victor Lieberman, a member of the Beth Israel Congregation and a history professor at the University of Michigan, said he doesn’t question the right to free speech of members of Deir Yassin Remembered. But he finds their message hateful.

“The issue is not free speech, but the purposes to which speech is directed. The SPLC … decries efforts by DYR and its friends to instill hatred, to malign entire categories of people on the basis of religious, sexual, or racial identity,” Lieberman wrote in an email to The Ann Arbor News.

Report on Beth Israel vigil 05-27-17

Posted on May 30th, 2017 at 11:50 pm by

Fair Play

This week Witness for Peace has raised questions in the Ann Arbor City Attorney’s office for one of our signs that sent Assistant City Attorney Kristen Larcom out to photograph it. The sign reads

Prof. Victor Lieberman: “Heil Hitler!”

And is pictured below

 

 

http://www-personal.umich.edu/~hersko/Photos/Heil%20Lieberman-sm.jpg

A Short History

Why would WfP carry such a sign? Here’s the back story and explanation:

Back in 2012, this writer made the mistake of becoming frustrated at the continual stream of lies and yammering of congregant and University of Michigan Professor Victor Lieberman. In a moment of annoyance, words were uttered sarcastically, in the attempt to put an end to that day’s conversation. It worked; he left me alone.

But he held onto those words and started throwing them in my face every chance he got. When the verbal became written – in the Washtenaw Jewish News in 2015– I sent the following letter to that organization, with a copy to Lieberman:

September 26, 2015

Ms. Susan Kravitz Ayer
Editor and Publisher
Washtenaw Jewish News
Re: An open letter to an Ann Arbor hate group, WJN Sept. 2015

Dear Ms. Ayer,

To clear up any misunderstanding between our group and the local Jewish community, neither I nor anyone in our group believes that Jews “deserved” the suffering they experienced during World War II in Europe.

Thank you,

Fast Forward

Two events have recently been presented by our opposition: First, the Washtenaw Jewish News repeated the misleading allegation they knew to be so in their April 2017 issue, and Lieberman shouted “Heil Hitler!” at me during our vigil on March 18, 2017. Readers are invited to see and listen to those words here.

Was Lieberman serious about speaking those words, or, like me five years ago, did he say them facetiously? We just don’t know. It seems rather petty to hold a person to his words when the likeliness of sarcasm exists. But he and the larger Jewish community seem set on doing just that, and Witness for Peace will gift our sign to Lieberman when our above letter gets published in the WJN.

And that’s the whole story.

Comments?

Henry Herskovitz
Witness for Peace
America First Not Israel
Five vigilers
#

Report on Beth Israel vigil 05-20-17

Posted on May 23rd, 2017 at 10:51 pm by

Zionist Hawk Exposed

In our vigil report of April 1, we shared a letter to the Washtenaw Jewish News accepting Professor Victor Lieberman’s challenge to discuss the issues we raise at our vigils. Now it’s time to share the outcome of this offer to debate.

First, we receive a notice of interest from Beth Israel Congregant Victor Lieberman

Dear Mr. Larry Brayboy,

I have read with interest many of the e-mails that you have sent me concerning 9/11 and other matters, and I would like to learn more about your views.

May I assume that you are the same Larry Brayboy with whom Mr. Henry Herskovitz of Deir Yassin Remembered has suggested that I engage in public debate? Such a debate would be a useful forum for you to publicize your ideas more widely, and I am interested.

Thanks for getting back to me,

Sincerely,

(Prof.) Victor Lieberman

Larry’s response:

Yes I am the one.

I would be very interested in sharing my ideas about 9/11 with a wide audience and am eager to learn about who you feel was responsible for the 9/11 EVENTS.

You can reach me here or at 734 665 xxxx and we can discuss a date, time and location for a discussion to be held on the events of September 11, 2001.

Larry Brayboy

Lieberman then adds my name to the equation and appears eager to get this debate going:

Dear Mr. Brayboy,

Thanks for getting back to me. Since Henry Herskovitz proposed the debate, he seems the logical person with whom to discuss practical arrangements. I imagine that I’ll see him outside the synagogue this Saturday morning, and that he then will get back to you.

Best wishes,

Vic Lieberman

Sensing a restriction on our work at the vigils, I enter the discussion:

Vic,

I see that you and Larry have connected via email.

Since the vigils are not part of this effort, may I suggest another time, place to meet to discuss details?

Perhaps coffee Monday morning? Then Larry will have the opportunity to join us.

Best
Henry

Is it ALWAYS about the money?

Inexplicably, Lieberman ignores this clear message of separation, and counters:

Hi Henry,

I will debate Larry Brayboy under these conditions:

1. Your organization agrees to end the picket in front of Beth Israel.
2. Your organization deposits $55,000 in an escrow account in a mutually agreed financial institution.
3. If there are no picketers, signs, or demonstrations of any sort in front of Beth Israel for five years, at the end of that time the money will be returned to you with interest.
4. If during that five-year period any picketing occurs, the money will be forfeit and distributed as follows: $5000 to me, $25,000 to Beth Israel Congregation, and $25,000 to AIPAC.
5. This agreement will be drawn up in writing, and any disputes on interpretation of the agreement will be settled by the rabbi of Beth Israel. His decisions will be final.

Assuming these conditions are acceptable to you, I will have a lawyer produce a formal agreement and present it to you for approval. If any of these conditions is unacceptable, you will continue your marvelously productive picket indefinitely and there will be no debate. I have all the information I wanted from Larry Brayboy.

Regards,
Victor Lieberman

Conclusion

Our assessment of Lieberman’s attempt to impose ridiculous conditions for the debate is that he never intended to have one in the first place. We suspect Jewish and Israeli skeletons in the closet in regard to the Holocaust and the 9/11 attacks on the US. Lieberman often accuses us vigilers of cowardice, yet when push came to shove, it was he who blinked.

Comments?

Henry Herskovitz
Witness for Peace
America First Not Israel
May 13 Three vigilers
May 20 Four vigilers
#

Report on Beth Israel vigil 04-29-17

Posted on May 3rd, 2017 at 9:03 am by

Witness for Peace addresses Ann Arbor City Council

On Monday, May 1, I addressed Council on the topic “Holocaust Education”. Text of speech available below signature. Halfway through my presentation the 24-year-old Jewish council member, Zachary Ackerman, fled the room and returned only after I had finished the presentation and taken my seat. This action begat the following letter to Mayor Chris Taylor:

Dear Chris,

I’m pretty sure I don’t have a legal leg to stand on in this matter, but wanted to let you know how much it irks me when a salaried civil servant leaves the room as I speak during Public Commentary time at City Council meetings.

Especially when the salary Mr. Ackerman accepts is drawn off the taxes I pay.

Perhaps Council needs to consider a minimum age/maturity requirement for running for public office.

Best wishes,
Henry Herskovitz

Reminder: Gilad Atzmon to Speak in Ann Arbor

Circle the date: Thursday, May 4, 6pm at the downtown branch of the Ann Arbor District Library (4th floor conference room “A”). Author Gilad Atzmon will promote his newest book, Being in Time.

Being in Time suggests that ‘after-politics’ is a tale of the decisive victory of one elite. Gilad Atzmon, author of The Wandering Who, has managed to dissect the ethos, strategy and culture that are driving this invincible elite.

The Ann Arbor District Library forbids sales of books at their facilities. The sponsor, Deir Yassin Remembered, is considering giving them away.

Click here for event flyer.

Comments?

Henry Herskovitz
Witness for Peace
America First Not Israel
Four vigilers
#
Text of presentation to City Council

May 1, 2017

Good evening,

A couple of events have occurred since the last time I addressed Council that bear notice. First, in addition to the weekly vigils our group – Witness for Peace – hold every Saturday, I also serve on the board of advisors of an organization – Deir Yassin Remembered – which commemorates the massacre at that village prior to the formation of the Jewish state.

In February, I signed a three-month contract with Adams Outdoor advertising to run a billboard sponsored by Deir Yassin Remembered, and it ran for a week before the company received so many irate calls from powerful sources that the billboard was removed. The message of the billboard was a mere extension of President Trump’s familiar words: Our sign reads “America First Not Israel”.

The second event has now been documented by our friends at the Washtenaw Jewish News, WUOM, the Michigan Daily and others. Deir Yassin Remembered has been mis-identified as a “Hate” group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, under the sub-category “Holocaust Denial”. In fact, I have been castigated by former Council member Joan Lowenstein as “a full-fledged holocaust denier”. And it’s been reported that some current Council members have heard Holocaust denial in my words.

So, what does Holocaust Denial really mean? Fortunately, Dan McGowan, executor director of Deir Yassin Remembered, has penned a definition which was printed in a Geneva NY newspaper and almost cost Dan his Professor Emeritus status at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. He writes:

  1. For most Holocaust revisionists … their arguments boil down to three simple contentions:
  2. 1. Hitler’s “Final Solution” was intended to be ethnic cleansing, not extermination.
    2. There were no homicidal gas chambers used by the Third Reich.
    3. There were fewer than 6 million Jews killed of the 55 million who died in WWII.

And he adds:

If other myths, like making soap from human fat, have been dismissed as Allied war propaganda, why is it “unacceptable behavior” to ask if the gas chamber at Dachau was not reconstructed by the Americans because no other homicidal gas chamber could be found and used as evidence at the Nuremburg trials?

I would like to close with a quote from Thomas Jefferson:

“There is not a truth existing which I fear, or would wish unknown to the whole world”

Thank you

Report on Beth Israel vigil 04-22-17

Posted on April 27th, 2017 at 2:32 pm by

Caption Contest

Check out the photo below and consider the following question:

Which caption provides the viewer with the stronger emotional reaction?

Caption 1: Here is a recently released photograph of the back side of Auschwitz from the archives at Yad Vashem, 1943. The cattle cars (one is visible) containing older or infirm Jews were switched to the siding on the right where they were immediately gassed without being registered. The track straight ahead transported the healthier ones to the water tower drop-off (also visible), where they were registered, tattooed, then worked to death.

Caption 2: The photograph was taken at the site of a former refrigeration compressor facility in southeast Michigan. The siding to the right provided access to freight cars which were loaded for shipment from within the factory walls.

Fake News is fun!

Gilad Atzmon to Speak in Ann Arbor

Circle the date: Thursday, May 4, 6pm at the downtown branch of the Ann Arbor District Library (4th floor conference room “A”). Philosopher and author Gilad Atzmon will promote his newest book, Being in Time. Gilad:

In the post-political universe in which we live, much of humanity has been reduced to serve the interests of big money and oligarchy. Left and Right have become indistinguishable and meaningless. The freedom to think openly is now within the domain of nostalgia. Our Western Liberal ‘utopia’ has turned into an Orwellian catastrophe, and we the people, have been left bewildered and impoverished. Being in Time is a courageous attempt to grasp the intellectual developments that led towards the current dystopia. The book delves into the bankruptcy of the ideological grand narratives. It explores the colossal failure of the media, academia and politics in detecting and addressing the events that led us towards destitution. It identifies the ideologies that planted ID politics and the tyranny of correctness in our midst. We, the people, have been demoted into mere audience in a Greek tragedy that happens to be the story of our own destruction. Time is ripe to understand it all.

Being in Time suggests that ‘after-politics’ is a tale of the decisive victory of one elite. Gilad Atzmon, author of The Wandering Who, has managed to dissect the ethos, strategy and culture that are driving this invincible elite.

Click here for event flyer.

Comments?

Henry Herskovitz
Witness for Peace
America First Not Israel
Apr. 18: Four vigilers
Apr. 25: Three vigilers

Report on Beth Israel vigil 04-01-17

Posted on April 6th, 2017 at 11:01 pm by

Jewish News: Prudence or Cowardice?

Witness for Peace has sent the following letter to the Washtenaw Jewish News and we’re currently awaiting response:

March 22, 2017

Ms. Susan Kravitz Ayer
Editor and Publisher
Washtenaw Jewish News
Re: An open letter to an Ann Arbor hate group, WJN September 2015

Dear Ms. Ayer,

A close friend to Witness for Peace has stepped up to the challenges presented by Victor Lieberman in his article, “An open letter to an Ann Arbor hate group”, which appeared in the September, 2015 issue of the Washtenaw Jewish News.

Mr. Lieberman writes, “Picketers [sic] have told me on numerous occasions that there was no such thing as the Holocaust … And, of course, they explain, Jews organized and directed the attacks of 9/11…”. He concludes, “I’d be happy to document any and all of these claims and to meet to discuss these issues.

Mr. Larry Brayboy of Ann Arbor has suggested an open debate with Mr. Lieberman on the topics listed above, specifically, the Holocaust and the attacks of 9/11. I personally suggest a public forum for this debate; however, Witness for Peace is open to hearing all available venues and times.

Thank you,

Henry Herskovitz
Witness for Peace
cc: Victor Lieberman

Keeping Our Sense of Humor

Vigil Supporter M takes this holiday’s spirit to heart as she creates a sign specifically for this date:

Comments?

This report dedicated to the memories of
John Alward and Bill Wilkerson

Two vigilers

Henry Herskovitz
Witness for Peace
America First Not Israel

Report on Beth Israel vigil 03-25-17

Posted on March 29th, 2017 at 4:47 pm by

Witness for Peace addresses Ann Arbor District Library

What good is BDS if not implemented? Quoting from the original Palestinian Civil Society Call for BDS, “We, representatives of Palestinian civil society, call upon international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era.”

Now, we feel that “broad boycotts” means exposing and challenging any and all attempts to normalize, or legitimize a state that practices Apartheid. At the local level a major contributor to this normalizing process is the Washtenaw Jewish News, which openly promotes communications, business dealings and travel to the Jewish Apartheid State (aka “Israel”).

When we found that our own publicly funded Ann Arbor District Library (AADL) was among the advertisers in this openly pro-Israel publication, we addressed the board of directors at their monthly meeting March 20. Here’s what we said:

Good Evening,

I’m here tonight to address an issue I find disturbing

The AADL has used its resources – including my tax dollars – to place an ad in a magazine that supports an Apartheid foreign government.

I’m referring to page 15 of this month’s issue of the Washtenaw Jewish News. There are two points I’d like to make.

First, that this newspaper, in addition to printing articles about the local Jewish community, also contains articles supportive of the state of Israel.

In this issue, there are articles discussing the Michigan-Israel Business Bridge, prominent men and women who study in Israel, and articles that encourage – and pay for – Jewish teens to travel to Israel.

Indeed, this ad, from a year ago, acknowledges the ties between Israel and Ann Arbor Jews. This lady is telling us that Israel exists in the marrow of Jews in this community.

Secondly, to support our claim that Israel is an Apartheid state I’ve printed for each of you the Executive Summary of a paper – authored by Richard Falk and Virginia Tilley – from the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia. I’d like to read its opening paragraph:

This report concludes that Israel has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole. Aware of the seriousness of this allegation, the authors of the report conclude that available evidence establishes beyond a reasonable doubt that Israel is guilty of policies and practices that constitute the crime of apartheid as legally defined in instruments of international law.

So, as a member of the AADL, and a taxpaying supporter of the Library, I ask that WE cease purchasing ads in a paper that openly supports Apartheid.

Thank you

Here is a list of some the advertisers found in the March issue of the Washtenaw Jewish News. For the complete list, click here.

Afternoon Delight
Ann Arbor City Club
Ann Arbor District Library
Ann Arbor Film Festival
Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra
Chelsea Flower Shop
Michigan Theater
Mighty Good Coffee
People’s Food Coop
Purple Rose Theater
Zingerman’s

Comments?

Henry Herskovitz
Witness for Peace
America First Not Israel
Mar. 18: Three vigilers
Mar. 25: Four vigilers

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